West London shooting: Police fire at vehicle after it crashes into Ukrainian ambassador’s car outside London embassy

Driver arrested on suspicion of attempting to murder police officers

Colin Drury
Saturday 13 April 2019 19:43
Police cordon near out Ukraine embassy in London following shooting

A man has been arrested on suspicion of attempting to murder police officers after a car was allegedly driven straight at them outside the Ukrainian embassy.

Armed officers were responding to reports the Mercedes had repeatedly rammed into the Ukraine ambassador’s official vehicle in Holland Park.

Officers opened fire on the car after it was driven at them, the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

No one was hurt during the incident on Saturday morning.

A statement posted online by the Ukraine embassy said its vehicle – used for official duties by ambassador Natalia Galibarenko – was “deliberately rammed” as it sat parked.

“The police were called immediately and the suspect’s vehicle was blocked up. Nevertheless, despite the police actions the attacker hit the ambassador’s car again.

“In response the police were forced to open fire on the perpetrator’s vehicle. The culprit was apprehended and taken to a police station.”

The Metropolitan Police confirmed armed officers had been deployed to the incident at 9.50am in accordance with security arrangements for embassies in London and said shots had been fired.

It said the suspect - a man in his 40s - had been detained and was being questioned. No details were given of his identity or nationality, although the incident is not being treated as terrorist related.

Chief Superintendent Andy Walker, from the Met’s specialist firearms command, added: “As is standard procedure, an investigation is now ongoing into the discharge of a police firearm during this incident.

“While this takes place, I would like to pay tribute to the officers involved this morning who responded swiftly to this incident and put themselves in harm’s way, as they do every day, to keep the people of London safe.”

Onlookers described seeing officers armed with sub-machine guns and a suspect being "wrestled" to the ground.

Forensic officers at scene near the Ukrainian Embassy in Holland Park, west London after police fired shots after the ambassador's car was "deliberately rammed"

The silver Mercedes outside the embassy was the subject of a forensic investigation by Saturday afternoon with police sniffer dogs brought into search the area.

Witness Darcy Mercier described the “really strange” event to the BBC, saying the car was “blasting Ukrainian music in some kind of protest against the embassy” after arriving at about 7am.

He said: “I was out on my terrace when he started ramming the car and then the police arrested him.

“I asked him to turn down the music and he said that he was playing Ukrainian music for the Ukrainian Embassy and was a little bit belligerent.”

Emma Slatter, who is Visa's general counsel, watched the scene unfold with her banker partner David Hinsley.

She said: "I think I heard about half a dozen shots. I could see police had got the guy out of the car and they had him on the ground.

"The police seemed in charge. There were probably about eight to 10 guys in full body armour, some with sub-machine guns.

"He [the suspect] was stumbling but he wasn't resisting. We thought he might've been shot but there wasn't any evidence of any blood. They frogmarched him into the back of the police van."

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Another neighbour said she heard what sounded like firecrackers before police swooped.

Heather Feiner, originally from Texas in the US, said: "I heard the gunshots and that prompted me to look out of the window.

"It was like a pop-pop. It sounded like firecrackers. I thought, 'What the heck, it's not Guy Fawkes'.

"My kids were hanging out in the living room. They said, 'Mum, is that firecrackers?'

"I saw all this police activity. I thought, 'Oh my gosh, what's going on?"'

The mother-of-two added that there were about four marked police cars outside by the time she reached her window in the ground floor flat.

She said: "From the time I heard the shots until I got to the window, which took about 15 seconds, all these police cars were already there."

The incident comes just eight days before the second and final round of Ukraine’s presidential elections.

Additional reporting by PA

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